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Stress-Free Report Cards

Report Cards can be very stressful for families. Kids don’t want to disappoint their parents, or be punished for bad grades, and parents don’t want to find out that their child is struggling academically. While report cards can be stressful, they don’t have to be.

Before stress levels reaches the danger zone, consider the following:

It’s Still Early—this is the first report card, which means that there is still ample opportunity to make improvements this school year.

Language—report cards often contain confusing educational jargon, which can be frustrating. Forget the gobbledygook and focus on the teacher’s comments. These comments can give you a better idea of how your child is performing overall.

Context—some school years are more challenging than others. Certain grades are transition years, such as the first year of high school, or the shift from early to middle school. These years can be challenging to all students, regardless of their academic abilities.

Now that parents have read the report card, it’s time to have a chat with the kids about their grades. Here are some tips that will help parents—and kids—banish any icky report-card feelings:

1. Be calm, cool, and collected. If you’re upset or angry about grades, hold off on the discussion until you can speak calmly and rationally.
2. Say something nice. Start with empathetic and positive comments. Highlight something positive about the report card, no matter how trivial. For instance, “You are really kicking butt in English.”
3. Listen to your child. Recognize the struggles. School can be tough. It is helpful to students to know that you are listening to their concerns and complaints.

The final report card takeaway is this:

Problems Require Action! Remember that the report card is a red flag. There may be plenty of time left in the school year, but if you don’t act now, the urgency of poor grades will be forgotten.

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